What drives “green housing” construction? Evidence from Switzerland
Purpose – Switzerland boasts arguably the highest density of green properties in the world. In 2008, more than 15 percent of total new construction received the Swiss energy building label Minergie. The spatial distribution of these green buildings, however, is highly heterogeneous. In some regions, more than half of the new dwellings are built according to the Swiss green building standard. In others, this share is still negligible. The purpose of this paper is to identify the determinants of the distribution of green housing. Design/methodology/approach – For 2,571 Swiss municipalities, the author computes the green building share of new residential buildings. Data are collected for several variables measuring demographic, geographic, social, cultural, and political aspects that – according to the authors' hypothesis – may influence green building activity. Count regression is used to estimate the impact of these variables on the demand for green buildings. Findings – It is found that differences in income levels and cultural affiliation between Swiss municipalities account for the largest part of the variation in green building activity. The impact of homeowners' stance on environmentalism is highly significant but less important. Government subsidies do not seem to trigger additional green housing activity. Originality/value – The paper presents one of the first empirical analyses regarding the determinants of green building activity. Thanks to a comprehensive dataset, the authors are able to investigate the impact of potential drivers of “green housing” construction activity. The regional variation in governmental incentives is analysed and delivers valuable insight for policymakers interested in spurring the development of green buildings.
Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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